As I walked home from the train station, it occurred to me that I had to write about the disgraced, the poor and the earnest strivers of Queens, and I would be able to tell their stories not because I was a writer but because I was a reader.
All those shelves of books had built my mind, teaching me how to shape a narrative about my people, from what they had lost and found. In life, even in my life, there was a coming-of-age, tragedy and meaning.
Each year, an estimated 365 million to one billion birds die by smacking into reflective or transparent windows in deadly cases of mistaken identity, believing the glass to be unimpeded sky.
“These birds are dying right in front of their eyes,” said Connie Sanchez, the bird-friendly buildings program manager for the National Audubon Society, which for two decades has asked cities to dim their lights from about mid-March through May, and again in the fall, under its Lights Out initiative.
If you leave the airport expecting the rest of the city to be this orderly and clean, you won't be disappointed. Once described by the New York Times as a place "so clean that bubble gum is a controlled substance", Singapore is universally known for its perfectly paved roads, manicured public parks, and spotless, litter-free streets.
But cleanliness is more than a merely aesthetic ideal here. In this small city-state with just under 56 years of national independence under its belt, cleanliness has been synonymous with major social progress, unprecedented economic growth and, most recently, a coordinated containment of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I am still finding it difficult to explain just what sort of book it is,” wrote Alan Alexander Milne in the introduction to the 1922 edition of Once on a Time. “Perhaps no explanation is necessary. Read in it what you like; read it to whomever you like; be of what age you like; it can only fall into one of two classes. Either you will enjoy it, or you won’t.”
If his words aren’t hint enough about the character of the tale, that conspicuously missing “Upon” from the title will supply another.
In the museum, I looked at
the beautiful things, one after another,
I love my office for the windows
because just outside them
lives a community of birds
and I enjoy the show.